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NEW PC: MINI-ITX
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I'm thinking of building a new PC sometime in the New Year.

Going to go down the Mini-ITX route, as I do not need a ultra-high spec games box.

Was looking at something with the Intel Z77 chipset, like the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe on HERE

It's been a few years since I built a PC, so if anyone has experiences of Mini-ITX, please speak up!

Requirements are:

Must have:

Displayport, supporting 2560 x 1440 or better
16 GB RAM
Intel i7 CPU's (with integrated GPU?)
Gigabit LAN (I'm sure everything has it now!)
Support SSD or two at SATA 3 speeds
Support Windows 8


Fit in this case (as already bought)!:

Would like:
Fast enough to run older games, say Flight Simulator X
Digital Optical/Co-Ax Sound out.
HDMI
Quiet!!
Support LINUX (maybe on 2nd SSD)
Be reasonably current tech / chipsets.


Probably other stuff I've forgotten about.

Anyone know what Intel are planning chipset wise this year?

Updated December 16, 2012 at 3:59 PM

If you want to run Flight Sim at full res in decent detail, you'll need a discrete, or discrete class, GPU. Something mid range should do it, but it needs to support half-height slots, natch. The HD4000 chipset is an improvement on the older Intel GPUs, but anything on an AMD chip will mince it in every respect, period.

If you must go Intel, Don't bother with an i7 - you won't need the grunt and it'll just require more cooling. Go for an i5.

If you want 16gb on MiniITX, you'll need 8gb DIMM x 2 - I'm pretty sure there aren't any MiniITX boards with 4 slots on 'em.

Pretty much any board these days will have at least 4x SATA3 - your SSD requirements are determined by the chassis.

And get a third party, low height cooler - the stock Intel one will be a sack of shit in terms of noise and heat dissipation.

Other option would be to look at AMD MiniITX boards, such as this A75 board although annoyingly, no displayport. It's DL-DVI will do 2560x1600 however.

Drop in this AMD A10 CPU and it'll probably play FlightSim X without discrete graphics, at decent detail - with a 65w thermal envelope. Meaning a slower running, quieter cooler can be used, etc.

16gb (2x8gb) can be had here.

Low profile CPU cooler which will handle the load better than the stock HSF.

£300ish for the whole lot - although this doesn't include power supply, SSDs, etc.

MiniITX = pricy.

It's a baseline - work out from that. MiniITX really hinders your choice though from what I can see. MicroATX is a bit better in that regard, but it ain't a MicroATX case you've got ;)

Their is some talk of Intel moving away from sockets to PGA but personally I think this is bollocks.

AMD is to busy having fun in the real estate market to make a new CPU.

Cheers

Steve

Thanks Beany. I think the PSU is going to be a limiting factor here - 160 Watts seems to be the max I can get for this case, AFAIK.

TBH - my last PC was a huge behemoth with highish NVidia (at the time), so I'd really like to build a smaller PC. I was just hoping that the game had moved on enough to run FS X on a smaller PC with iGPU.

I've always been an Intel guy, so I wasn't really looking at AMD. I guess I need to have a look at them to.

You won't be able to play FSX on an i7 without a dedicated graphics card. I've tried, well you can play it but it will look like 32bit graphics :lol:

You won't even be able to play Minecraft on it. You must be able to pick up a gig of something which is small enough to fit and cheap?

--

How about not having a sig at all?

An 65w A10 will monster any Intel when it comes to this sort of usage case, where a discrete GPU is basically just not an option due to cooling restrictions.

The biggest problem is the case height - it's so damned small that the only fan I can find after fifteen minutes of google fu that is reported to work with the chassis is the Reeven Vanxie.

This is why I have never gone smaller than mATX, even they can be a pig to spec up properly - that is, getting the best bang for buck. You can bet your boots that's not the most thermally efficient cooler you can get, it'll not be as quiet as ones that are even 10mm higher, with more space for heatpipes etc.

That said, I do have a requirement to spec up an mITX machine for work, so this is a useful thread for me. I'll see what I can come up with for that and hopefully some of it will be applicable to you!

Beany said...

That said, I do have a requirement to spec up an mITX machine for work, so this is a useful thread for me. I'll see what I can come up with for that and hopefully some of it will be applicable to you!

Cheers bud - you're the best free PC support available to humanity. :lol:

I don't improve when I get paid, for reference ;)

Beany said...

Other option would be to look at AMD MiniITX boards, such as this A75 board although annoyingly, no displayport. It's DL-DVI will do 2560x1600 however.

Just for ref my monitor is this

It has HDMI, Dual Link DVI, Display Port, VGA. I've tested the DVI and DP and they both run native RES, so either is an option. In fact perhaps DVI is better, as I won't need to swap cables if I use my Macbooks DP. ( Honest - I'm not showing off here! :lol: )

I'm assuming you are recommending the AMD route, as their iGPU whoops Intel's ass?

That cooler looks fine, but I was wondering if the fan would get blocked, as the tray for the optical drive sits at the top. It's possible I may not install a drive anyway, as I have an external USB drive.

I'll try and measure the inside height of the case, and post here.

The IGP on the AMD cpus is pretty much discrete class - it'll kick the Intel iGPU all over the shop in every respect. Not just every important respect, but every respect. FACT. END OF.

For an HTPC this is very important as you physically can't install a decent discrete GPU without seriously compromising noise and thermals.

Measured the height - it's 5cm, although the PCB supports will knock a few mm off that.

BTW - my last PC mobo was ASRock and packed-up. Therefore I'd rather pay more for a better brand like ASUS, AOpen (are they still going?) or similar. :D

Thinking this for a CPU cooler.

what kind of PSU is suitable for that case and CPU class? I don't think a nanoPSU has enough stamina and suggested motherboard have just standard ATX plug (4 pin + 24 pins).
I'd love to build one of these by myself but unsure how to power them properly.

Gino Pilotino said...

what kind of PSU is suitable for that case and CPU class? I don't think a nanoPSU has enough stamina and suggested motherboard have just standard ATX plug (4 pin + 24 pins).
I'd love to build one of these by myself but unsure how to power them properly.

I've seen Pico PSU's with the ATX plug that goes to a laptop style external PSU. There's no way any PSU will fit in that case, I'm sure. MAX I've seen so far is 160W, so I guess the whole system needs to be specced carefully. In a way it's kind of fun to have to build to a fixed amount of power, rather that just going and getting the most over spec PSU you can and not giving a toss!


Updated December 19, 2012 at 10:38 PM

37mm >34mm.

Also, IIRC, ASRock are an Asus sub-brand. I've never had a problem with Asus stuff myself, all my boards have been Asus and have been OK.

No idea about Pico PSUs, but I'm pretty sure most can be had with ATX adaptoids...

Beany said...

37mm >34mm.

Also, IIRC, ASRock are an Asus sub-brand. I've never had a problem with Asus stuff myself, all my boards have been Asus and have been OK.

No idea about Pico PSUs, but I'm pretty sure most can be had with ATX adaptoids...

For some reason I'd thought I'd read 43mm! Dyslexia I guess :lol:

Not sure what the relationship between ASRock and ASUS is. ASUS has always been good for me, but it's definitely the ASRock mobo that failed in my old PC. They certainly seem to be at the cheap end of the market. Since the silicon is the same, they must be saving money on capacitors and power regs.

Updated December 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM

ilmostro said...

BTW - my last PC mobo was ASRock and packed-up. Therefore I'd rather pay more for a better brand like ASUS, AOpen (are they still going?) or similar. :D

Seems I was right to want to give ASRock a wide berth: Fireball XL5

Ooh, that's not good, that isn't.

I'm guessing there'll be a few more FM2 Mini-ITX boards coming out in the next few months, as very little right now.

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